I know it’s been a while since my last post, and I actually had something different planned for this week. But events have transpired, and I have something more important to discuss this week. So the carefully plotted post for this week will be shuffled to next instead.
Our beloved family cat, Magoo a.k.a Goobie had to be put down today. Goobie was 20 years old, and I will be turning 25 next month. For those of you who may not be too keen on math, and this includes me, this means that Goobie has been a part of my life for 20 years, since I was 4. Pretty much as long as I’ve been able to retain memories, Goobie has been there.
Our family wanted a pet, and we had first tried a dog. A shih tzu named Higgins. I know the name of this breed literally sounds like you’re saying “shit zoo”, and that’s exactly what Higgins was. This dog shit on everything! Everything but the grass outdoors that is. He shit on the carpets, on the kitchen floor, on his blanket, in our beds, and once he even shit in my sister’s dollhouse. My mom couldn’t take it, so she gave him away.
My parents then decided that a cat might be the better option for them. Goobie was born on September 22nd 1991 and he had two brothers, Morris and Mitzi. My parents having had three very rambunctious daughters, decided to get all three cats so each girl would have her own to care for. Looking back now, it was quite the charming childhood we had back in the early 90’s. Maybe that’s why I’m such a 90’s-aholic. Getting the three cats was intended to prevent fighting and jealousy over just one cat.
Goobie belonged to my older sister Marion, Morris belonged to me, and Mitzi belonged to my little sister Erika. All was well and wonderful in our house now that we had pets to cherish. And cherish our pets we did! We played with the cats for hours, napped with them, dressed them in doll clothing, dutifully fed them every night, and were very liberal with affectionate scratches behind the ears.
That is until the dreaded flea outbreak of 1993. Morris and Mitzi were horribly allergic to the flea medication and had to be put down after only a very short time in our household. It was our first significant pet loss, and it stuck with us a long time. But, we still had Goobie.
Goobie became the epitome of a perfect pet. He waited patiently for us to get home from school every afternoon in the front hallway. He loved snuggling in our laps for hours on end, and sitting calmly for marathon brushing sessions. He had a beautiful, full, fluffy black coat and loved having his belly rubbed. This is our Goobie:
Our lives became quite tumultuous during the years that followed. My parents divorced, we moved in with my nana for a while. Then my mom met my stepdad, moved in with him, got pregnant and had my little brother. Shortly after another little sister followed. Throughout all of these rapid changes in our childhood, Goobie was the one constant.
Goobie was always there to snuggle at night, and play with during the day. He was always charming, patient, and affectionate. We then added another cat to the household, Cody, and Goobie was not a fan. He was very stand-offish, but never went out of his way to hurt Cody or challenge him. Probably because Cody weighs about 23 pounds and Goobie only 15. Eventually Goobie learned to “like” Cody. And by “like” I mean they would have secret snuggle naps, and if you walked in on them Goobie would abruptly distance himself so as to maintain his aloof, uncaring attitude towards Cody.
Goobie had a very special bond with Marion, but in 2004 she moved away to university, and in 2005 I moved out as well to attend the same university. This was a very stressful time for Goobie because everyone else in the house lavished all of their attention on Cody. As soon as Marion was able to, she moved Goobie in with her to finish out her last two years at school. Marion and I were always close so I visited often and maintained my love for the cherished childhood cat. Marion then moved to Toronto with her boyfriend and they took Goobie with them. She called this the “kitty retirement” phase of his life.
As the years went by Goobie got older and older. The running joke was that he would live to set the world record for oldest cat. He was always very charming, but as he aged he got more and more bitchy. He also got very ragged looking. This is Goobie just relaxing one afternoon on Marion’s bed:
He started to be outright demanding of people’s attention. He would howl in the middle of the night and keep everyone awake. I’ve crashed at my sister’s place a bunch and witnessed it many times with mild amusement. He certainly had a distinct personality and was known for comic timing. Sometimes when people he didn’t know well would try to pet him he would sort of limbo his butt out of their reach and walk away. When he was dosing off, he would sit on the couch and put his face straight down. We called this Goobie’s “power down” mode.
Because of how long Goobie had been in my life, and how resilient he was, I never entertained the notion that we might actually lose Goobie one day. I just always took for granted that he would be around forever just because he always had been before. In my mind, there was nothing Goobie couldn’t overcome.
About a week ago my sister mentioned to me that Goobie took a really bad turn. She mentioned that he may need to be put down. I went to her place that weekend and spent time with Goobie just in case it would be the last time I saw him. Turns out it was the last time I saw him. I’m grateful that I got to pet him one last time and tell him how much he meant to me for all those years. He was a damn good cat. Last summer my boyfriend Darren and I adopted our kitten Harvey. If Harvey turns out to be half the pet that Goobie was then I will be very lucky.
For many of us, the best part of our day is coming home to our pets. I look forward to coming home every night and getting snuggles and affectionate head butts from Harvey. Hearing his happy purring when I get home from a terrible day at work is the gentle reminder I need to keep my head held high and keep on trucking. A pet’s unconditional acceptance and understanding is a true blessing. I hope that you, dear readers, are just as blessed by your own pets as I was by having Goobie in my life.
Thank you Goobie. Thank you for all the nights of snuggles, all the hours of playfulness, all the hilarious antics, and all of the comfort you brought during difficult times. Thank you for all the years of servitude as an outstanding pet and friend. I consider myself truly blessed to have had such an amazing pet impact my life for the past 20 years. You have been dearly cherished and will now be dearly missed.
Rest in peace old friend.